Hungry Eyes

Patrick Swayze Memorial Brunch

The Patrick Swayze Memorial Brunch

This Sunday, I hosted the Patrick Swayze Memorial Brunch. It was fun. A lot of fun. But it was also more than fun. It was strangely, unexpectedly moving.

The Arugula Files commented this weekend that Dirty Dancing is an “absurd” movie. And it is. I can’t think of a better word to describe the movie. So many things about it don’t make any sense. In the real world, would a 35 year old dance instructor ever find love with an 18 year old resort guest? Would the dance instructor ever care about dancing “the last dance of the season” at a resort that just fired him? Would he care if he did a half-ass job dancing at a neighboring resort?

No, no, and no. And yet, in the world of Dirty Dancing, all these illogical plot devices make sense. You accept them and allow yourself to be caught up in the schmaltz, the drama, and the poetic movement of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey on the dance floor.

In honor of Patrick Swayze’s death, I decided to go as girly as possible with the brunch. I made watermelon mimosas, as a tribute to that famous scene, and which were lovely and refreshing.

Patrick Swayze Memorial Brunch - Watermelon Mimosa

Watermelon mimosas.

I knew I wanted to make cupcakes (how could I not?), but I had a difficult time choosing a recipe. After all, how does one convey the spirit of Dirty Dancing in cake and frosting? In the end, I decided to do something girly, very girly, as this is the movie that captured the hearts of little girls across the country.

Chocolate and strawberry seemed like especially girly flavorings, so I made up a batch of devil’s food cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting. I liked the symbolism of the “devils” food (sounds, a little “dirty,” doesn’t it?) and the buttercream was an appropriate, feminine pink.

So there it is. A memorial celebration fit for Johnny Castle.

Patrick Swayze Memorial Brunch - 2

You will be missed, Patrick. You will be missed.

Recipe: Watermelon Mimosas

1/2 seedless watermelon (approximately 3 lbs of watermelon)
1 bottle sparkling white wine

Remove watermelon from rind; cut into 1 inch chunks. Puree in a blender or food processor – or, if you lack either of those appliances, place chunks in a large bowl and mash into a pulp using a potato masher. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and pour into a measuring cup (for easy pouring. This made approximately 2 and 1/4 cups of juice).

Pour however much champagne you want into a wine glass or champagne flute. Top with watermelon juice, to taste.

For me, this made around six mimosas. But I like them . . . um, generously proportioned.



  1. lacochran said

    Aw, nice.

    Yeah, I never could figure out why the resort staff didn’t throw Johnny’s butt right out of there when he came back. But, then, it wouldn’t be the perfect fantasy it is. Nobody really wanted to do the Pachanga, after all.

  2. Alice said

    I want to eat those cupcakes. Right now!

  3. Jenna, you make great points and paid an even greater (and worthy) tribute to Mr. Patrick Swayze. As I am sitting in my room, replaying the soundtrack, wishing that I had another watermelon mimosa to take my troubles away, Dirty Dancing seems not that much absurd than the worse crap that makes it onto the big screen these days. Who would blink at their age difference now when Steve Martin gets away with screwing Claire Danes in Shopgirl for no good reason at all! That just made me angry. Maybe that’s more realistic–pretty girl at crap job getting together with rich old guy–but it is also somehow sadder and more pathetic. At its heart, Dirty Dancing tells us that love with some killer moves overcomes class and religious differences. It is so good-hearted,and it seems like that there are less and less movies like that. Now, all you need is some OK male actors and a hot teen or 20-something to have a hit. I wonder if they would even consider Jennifer Grey for the lead today if they were making that movie today? Long live “social message”! Johnny + Baby Forever!

  4. Tracy said

    This looks amazing and a completely fitting tribute to one of the best movies of all time!

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